The King’s Dreams
41 Two years later ·the king [L Pharaoh] dreamed he was standing ·on the bank of [L by] the Nile River. 2 He saw seven fat and ·beautiful [sleek] cows come up out of the river, and they stood there, ·eating [grazing on] the ·grass [reed beds]. 3 Then seven more cows came up out of the river, but they were thin and ugly. They stood beside the seven ·beautiful [L other] cows on the bank of the Nile. 4 The seven thin and ugly cows ate the seven ·beautiful [sleek] fat cows. Then ·the king [L Pharaoh] woke up. 5 He slept again and dreamed a second time. In his dream he saw seven ·full [plump] and ·good [healthy] heads of grain growing on one stalk. 6 After that, seven more heads of grain sprang up, but they were thin and ·burned [shriveled] by the hot east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain ate the seven ·full [plump] and good heads. Then ·the king [L Pharaoh] woke up again, and he realized it was only a dream. 8 The next morning ·the king [L his spirit] was troubled about these dreams, so he [L called and] sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. ·The king [L Pharaoh] told them his dreams, but no one could ·explain their meaning [L interpret them] to him.
9 Then the chief ·officer who served wine to the king [L cupbearer to Pharaoh] said to him, “Now I ·remember [make known] ·something I promised to do, but I forgot about it [my errors/faults/sins today]. 10 There was a time when you were angry with the [L chief] baker and me, and you put us in prison in the house of the chief butcher [37:36]. 11 In prison we each had a dream on the same night, and each dream had a different ·meaning [interpretation]. 12 A young Hebrew man, a servant of the chief butcher [37:36], was in the prison with us. When we told him our dreams, he explained their ·meanings [interpretations] to us. He told each man the ·meaning [interpretation] of his dream, and 13 things happened exactly as he ·said they would [L interpreted]: I was given back my old position, and the baker was hanged.”
14 So the king called [L and sent] for Joseph. The guards quickly brought him out of the ·prison [dungeon; L pit], and he shaved, ·put on clean [changed his] clothes, and went before ·the king [L Pharaoh].
15 ·The king [L Pharaoh] said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can ·explain its meaning to [interpret it for] me. I have heard that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
16 Joseph answered ·the king [L Pharaoh], “·I am not able to explain the meaning of dreams, but God will do this for the king [L It is not me, but only God can give Pharaoh a favorable interpretation].”
17 Then ·the king [L Pharaoh] said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18 I saw seven fat and ·beautiful [sleek] cows that came up out of the river and ate the ·grass [reed beds]. 19 Then I saw seven ·more [L other] cows come out of the river that were ·thin [L poor] and lean and ugly—the worst looking cows I have seen in all the land of Egypt. 20 And these ·thin [lean] and ugly cows ate the first seven fat cows, 21 but after they had ·eaten [L gone into their belly] the seven cows, no one could tell they had ·eaten them [L gone into their belly]. They looked just as ·thin and ugly [L ugly] as they did at the beginning. Then I woke up.
22 “I had another dream. I saw seven ·full [plump] and ·good [healthy] heads of grain growing on one stalk. 23 Then seven more heads of grain sprang up after them, but these heads were thin and ·ugly [withered] and ·were burned [shriveled] by the hot east wind. 24 Then the thin heads ·ate [L swallowed] the seven ·good [healthy] heads. I told this dream to the magicians, but no one could explain ·its meaning [L it] to me.”
Joseph Tells the Dreams’ Meaning
25 Then Joseph said to ·the king [L Pharaoh], “Both of these dreams ·mean the same thing [L are one]. God is telling you what he is about to do. 26 The seven ·good [healthy] cows stand for seven years, and the seven ·good [healthy] heads of grain stand for seven years. Both dreams mean the same thing. 27 The seven thin and ugly cows stand for seven years, and the seven thin heads of grain ·burned [shriveled] by the hot east wind stand for seven years of ·hunger [famine]. 28 This will happen as I told you. God is showing ·the king [L Pharaoh] what he is about to do. 29 You will have seven years of ·good crops and plenty to eat [L great plenty] in all the land of Egypt. 30 But after ·those seven years [L them], there will come seven years of ·hunger [famine], and all the ·food that grew [L plenty] in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The ·time of hunger will eat up [L famine will consume] the land. 31 ·People will forget what it was like to have plenty of food [L The plenty will not be known in the land], because the ·hunger [famine] that follows will be so ·great [heavy]. 32 ·You had two dreams which mean the same thing. This shows [L The doubling of the dream of Pharaoh means] that God has firmly decided that this will happen, and he will make it happen soon.
33 “So let ·the king [L Pharaoh] choose a man who is very wise and ·understanding [discerning] and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 And let ·the king [L Pharaoh] also appoint ·officers [overseers] over the land, who should take one-fifth of all the food that is grown during the seven ·good years [years of plenty]. 35 They should gather all the food that is produced during the good years that are coming, and under the king’s ·authority [control; L hand] they should store the grain in the cities and guard it. 36 That food ·should be saved to use [shall serve as a reserve] during the seven years of ·hunger [famine] that will come on the land of Egypt. Then the people in Egypt will not ·die [L be cut off] during the seven years of ·hunger [famine].”
Joseph Is Made Ruler over Egypt
37 ·This seemed like a very good idea to the king [L The thing/word was good in the eyes of Pharaoh], and all his ·officers [servants] agreed. 38 And ·the king asked them [L Pharaoh said to his servants], “Can we find a ·better man than Joseph to take this job [L man like this man]? God’s spirit is truly in him!”
39 So ·the king [L Pharaoh] said to Joseph, “God has shown you all this. There is no one as wise and ·understanding [discerning] as you are, so 40 I will put you in charge of my ·palace [house]. All the people will obey your orders, and only [L in terms of the throne] I will be greater than you.”
41 Then ·the king [L Pharaoh] said to Joseph, “Look! I have put you in charge of all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then ·the king [L Pharaoh] took off ·from his own finger his ring with the royal seal on it [L his signet ring; C a form of identification], and he put it on Joseph’s finger. He gave Joseph fine linen clothes to wear, and he put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck [C all symbols of authority]. 43 ·The king had Joseph [L He made him] ride in the second royal chariot, and people walked ahead of his chariot calling, “Bow down [C an Egyptian word of uncertain meaning]!” By doing these things, the king put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt.
44 The king said to him, “I am ·the king [L Pharaoh], and I say that no one in all the land of Egypt may lift a hand or a foot without your permission.” 45 ·The king [L Pharaoh] gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah [C may mean “the god said, ‘let him live’ ”; showing the Egyptians’ acceptance of him]. He also gave Joseph a wife named Asenath, who was the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On [C an important city seven miles northeast of Cairo also known as Heliopolis, a center of the worship of the sun]. So Joseph ·traveled through [or rose over] all the land of Egypt.
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he ·began serving [L stood before the Pharaoh] the king of Egypt. And he ·left the king’s court [L went out from before Pharaoh] and traveled through all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven ·good years [years of plenty], the ·crops in the land grew well [land produced much; L land made by handfuls]. 48 And Joseph gathered all the food produced in Egypt during those seven years of good crops and stored the food in the cities. In every city he stored grain that had been grown in the fields around that city. 49 Joseph stored much grain, as much as the sand of the seashore—so much that he could not ·measure [count] it.
50 Joseph’s wife was Asenath daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On [41:45]. Before the years of ·hunger [famine] came, Joseph and Asenath had two sons. 51 Joseph named the ·first son [firstborn] Manasseh [C sounds like “made me forget” in Hebrew] and said, “God has made me forget all the troubles I have had and all ·my father’s family [L the house of my father].” 52 Joseph named the second son Ephraim [C related to the Hebrew word for “fruitful”; 1:22] and said, “God has ·given me children [L made me fruitful] in the land of my ·troubles [afflictions].”
53 The seven years of ·good crops [plenty] came to an end in the land of Egypt. 54 Then the seven years of ·hunger [famine] began, just as Joseph had said. In all the lands people had ·nothing to eat [famine], but in Egypt there was ·food [bread]. 55 The ·time of hunger [famine] became terrible in all of Egypt, and the people cried to ·the king [L Pharaoh] for food. He said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”
56 The ·hunger [famine] was ·everywhere in that part of the world [L over all the face of the earth]. And Joseph opened ·the storehouses [L everything that was in them] and sold grain to the people of Egypt, because the ·time of hunger [famine] became ·terrible [severe] in Egypt. 57 And all the people in that part of the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain because the ·hunger [famine] was ·terrible [severe] everywhere in ·that part of the [L the] world.
New International Version
41 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream:(A) He was standing by the Nile,(B) 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat,(C) and they grazed among the reeds.(D) 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.(E)
5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain,(F) healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind.(G) 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up;(H) it had been a dream.
9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings.(L) 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants,(M) and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard.(N) 11 Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.(O) 12 Now a young Hebrew(P) was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard.(Q) We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream.(R) 13 And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.(S)”
16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”(Y)
17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile,(Z) 18 when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds.(AA) 19 After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20 The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.
22 “In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23 After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.(AB)”
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same.(AC) God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.(AD) 26 The seven good cows(AE) are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27 The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.(AF)
28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do.(AG) 29 Seven years of great abundance(AH) are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine(AI) will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land.(AJ) 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided(AK) by God, and God will do it soon.(AL)
33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man(AM) and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.(AN) 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners(AO) over the land to take a fifth(AP) of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.(AQ) 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food.(AR) 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt,(AS) so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you,(AV) there is no one so discerning and wise as you.(AW) 40 You shall be in charge of my palace,(AX) and all my people are to submit to your orders.(AY) Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.(AZ)”
Joseph in Charge of Egypt
41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”(BA) 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring(BB) from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes(BC) of fine linen(BD) and put a gold chain around his neck.(BE) 43 He had him ride in a chariot(BF) as his second-in-command,[b](BG) and people shouted before him, “Make way[c]!”(BH) Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.(BI)
44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.”(BJ) 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph(BK) the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest(BL) of On,[d](BM) to be his wife.(BN) And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.
46 Joseph was thirty years old(BO) when he entered the service(BP) of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance(BQ) the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities.(BR) In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea;(BS) it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.
50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.(BT) 51 Joseph named his firstborn(BU) Manasseh[e](BV) and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim[f](BW) and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful(BX) in the land of my suffering.”
53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine(BY) began,(BZ) just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine,(CA) the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”(CB)
56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians,(CC) for the famine(CD) was severe throughout Egypt.(CE) 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph,(CF) because the famine was severe everywhere.(CG)
- Genesis 41:38 Or of the gods
- Genesis 41:43 Or in the chariot of his second-in-command; or in his second chariot
- Genesis 41:43 Or Bow down
- Genesis 41:45 That is, Heliopolis; also in verse 50
- Genesis 41:51 Manasseh sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for forget.
- Genesis 41:52 Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for twice fruitful.